Customer Reviews


65 Reviews
5 star:
 (27)
4 star:
 (25)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed reasoning skills detract from interesting stories about underdogs
I have read and reviewed all of Malcolm Gladwell's previous books and consider him to be among the most talented and energetic of journalists, with most of his work featured in The New Yorker. He also has superb storyteller skills. His "discoveries" tend to be well-known to those knowledgeable about the given subject. In The Tipping Point, for example, he discusses a...
Published 6 months ago by Robert Morris

versus
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
There is no doubt that Gladwell is an entertaining writer and parts of this book are fun to read. However, as with "Tipping Point" I got half way through and thought this is repeating the same fairly obvious point again and again. I was also put off by his very one sided account of the early days of the Northern Ireland troubles. Some of what he says is true, some...
Published 5 months ago by MarkT


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts, 5 Nov 2013
This review is from: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Hardcover)
There is no doubt that Gladwell is an entertaining writer and parts of this book are fun to read. However, as with "Tipping Point" I got half way through and thought this is repeating the same fairly obvious point again and again. I was also put off by his very one sided account of the early days of the Northern Ireland troubles. Some of what he says is true, some statements are sweeping without a shred of evidence, and the whole piece needs to be put into a proper historical context - otherwise it could be misleading, particularly to an American audience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed reasoning skills detract from interesting stories about underdogs, 7 Oct 2013
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Hardcover)
I have read and reviewed all of Malcolm Gladwell's previous books and consider him to be among the most talented and energetic of journalists, with most of his work featured in The New Yorker. He also has superb storyteller skills. His "discoveries" tend to be well-known to those knowledgeable about the given subject. In The Tipping Point, for example, he discusses a phenomenon previous characterized by Michael Kami as a "trigger point" and later by Andrew Grove as an "inflection point." Or consider "the secret of success" that he discusses in The Outliers. For decades, Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University have been conducting research on peak performance. He duly acknowledges sources such as Ericsson and should be praised for attracting greater attention to the subjects he discusses. That is Gladwell's great value.

However, in his latest book, David and Goliath, he demonstrates faulty reasoning, such as what Christopher Chabris characterizes as "the fallacy of the unexamined premise." He also has problems with causal relationships and this is not the first time that Gladwell confuses "because" with "despite." For example, consider his assertion that attorney David Boies's great success is largely explained by the fact that he is dyslexic. Overcoming learning disabilities may have been - for Boies as well as countless others -- what Warren Bennis and David Thomas characterize as a "crucible" that strengthens and enlightens those who emerge from it.

In this context, I am reminded of the fact that one of the world's most renowned authorities on ADHD, Edward ("Ned") Hallowell, is an author of countless books and articles on the subject, a child and adult psychiatrist, and a New York Times bestselling author. Also, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane Medical School as well as the founder of The Hallowell Centers in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and New York City. Are these great achievements because or despite the fact that Hallowell is ADHD?

In his latest book, Gladwell relies too heavily on insufficient evidence or, worst yet, only on evidence that supports his premise. Yes, peak performers such as Boies, Richard Branson, Brian Glazer, David Neeleman, and Charles Schwab overcame severe learning disabilities and yes, 12 of 44 U.S. Presidents (including the first and the current) lost their father at an early age. There is no shortage of examples of women as well as men who have a "story of success" despite all manner of physical, social, and/or economic limitations.

Gladwell is at his best when sharing what he has learned after exploring subjects of special interest to him. As indicated, I admire his skills as a journalist and storyteller. What I view as his defective reasoning skills detract from the presentation of some (not all) if the material in David and Goliath, hence the Four Star rating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars hmmm, contentious at best, 18 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've enjoyed Gladwell's previous titles but this is too one sided. His review of the troubles in N Ireland are incompetent at best. Not a recommended read, sorry.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the weaker Gladwell books but with lots of interesting content nevertheless, 4 Oct 2013
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Malcolm Gladwell has justifiably become one of the more popular non-fiction writers - his previous books such as The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference or Outliers: The Story of Success have done an excellent job of synthesizing scientific research that was perhaps not always intuitively appealing into a very readable and easy to digest format.

Partially the current book - 'David and Goliath' - follows in the same vein. He is still one of the easiest writers to read and the concept, namely that the cards are often stacked against the more powerful 'Goliath', is a common, if not often acknowledged one.

The book starts well enough with the original David and Goliath story and then progresses through plenty of individual cases on how the weaker side successfully took on the conventionally more powerful one. The examples range from basketball, dyslexia, to the treatment of leukemia, the civil right movement, Northern Ireland and the 'three strike policy'.

If you are looking for a well argued scientific treatise, the book will possibly disappoint. While research is often used to strengthen the points the author tries to make, it is less pervasive than in his other books; here much more is based on individual case studies.

Nevertheless, if you use the book primarily as a 'food for thought' material, there are certainly plenty of interesting cases to work from here and the author (sometimes narrowly) avoids the trap of claiming that the position of the weaker, disadvantaged party is by definition the preferable one. He ably demonstrates that there are certain strengths that can be drawn from a position conventionally defined as the weaker one, from never giving up, not playing according to (informal) rules, avoiding your opponents' strength, to building on the mechanisms that helped you overcome your weakness...

Quite some of the points are not new, and some recent Po Bronson non-fiction books such as Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing or Nurtureshock: Why Everything We Thought About Children is Wrong perhaps demonstrate them with more scientific support, even if they do not read quite as fluidly as this here (they are very close, though).

So overall not the most memorable Gladwell but still an interesting book that can help the more reflective manager, strategist or general thinker play out intriguing scenarios and understand some basics of 'David and Goliath' mechanics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as memorable as other Gladwell's books, 18 Nov 2013
By 
Alessandro Mencarini (Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed by how few memorable moments it has compared to, for example, Blink. It felt like a lightweight book, not as focused and rich as I expected, but I did like many bits that it's found motivating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars David and Goliath:Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants (Hardcover)
If you have lived as the 'underdog' or work with 'underdogs' this book is a definite addition to your library. It challenges the belief system in such a positive way. An unmissable read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing read, 16 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Amazing read! I am still in awe thinking about the research that went into making this book!
I have recommended it to all my friends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Malcolm Gladwell, 13 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Similar in terms of finding the hidden truths in data in his other books, this time about the underdog. Well worth a read if you've enjoyed his other work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 12 Mar 2014
This is not my favourite Gladwell book, but it is still very very good. Some of the topics rely too much on anecdote, but in most of the chapters he is on top form. The sections on law enforcement and education are excellent. What seems obvious, e.g. that smaller classes are an advantage, is only true up to a point. When the anecdotes are backed up by facts he is at his scintillating best and as always, this is a book to remember and quote from when people assume there are easy answers to difficult questions.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars another hit from malcolm gladwell, 11 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great book. Probably not gladwell's best book but the topics covered were very insightful and it's the sort of book you quote from.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb47b333c)

This product

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants
8.49
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews